It took Masahiro Tanaka to quiet Mets bats and end a 6-game skid in the interleague rivalry for the Yankees. The victory put the Yanks in position to split the annual get-together between Big Apple crews when the series closes Thursday at Citi Field.
MLB odds are still in the works for the 7:10 PM (ET) contest after a late pitching change by the Mets. Thursday's tilt now features a pair of youngsters making MLB debuts as Chase Whitley is on tap for the Yankees and the Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound.
Tanaka was brilliant Wednesday in notching his first career shutout, the righthander limiting the Mets to four hits while striking out eight in the 4-0 final. The Yankees scattered their four runs out over four innings, with Mark Teixeira and Yangervis Solarte each popping solo homers.
Staffs Turn To Farmhands For Series Finale
Game 3 saw Rafael Montero's make his first appearance in a big league game for the Mets, tossing six innings and surrendering three of the Yankees' runs. Now we get to see a pair of arms on a major league mound for the first time, thanks to both teams having to find replacements for injured hurlers.
Whitley was nabbed by the Yankees in the 15th-round of the 2010 draft, and spent the last two seasons primarily working as a reliever for New York's Triple-A club. The Alabama native only had eight starting assignments among his first 144 minor league appearances before this season, turning in a fine 2.39 ERA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in six starts and a relief outing, striking out 32 in 26+ innings.
Dillon Gee was originally listed as the Mets hurler, but a strained lat muscle sends him to the DL to force deGrom into the mix. A 9th-round pick out of Stetson in 2010, deGrom turns 26 next month and has been at Triple-A Las Vegas this season after rising through three levels of the Mets' farm system last season. Seven starts this year produced a 2.58 ERA, but perhaps the best number on deGrom's ledger is only two home runs allowed over 38.1 innings in the PCL, generally considered a hitter-friendly league.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
We did see the same umpire crew from the first two games at Yankee Stadium move over to Citi Field for the rest of this series, and that means veteran Hunter Wendelstedt is south of the dish for the finale. He is 4-3-2 O/U/P in 2014, and worked a Mets game in Arizona about a month ago that went 'over.'
There is a 30% chance of rain this evening in the greater NYC area, temps in the mid-60s at first pitch along with a 12-16 mph SE wind (right to left).
My pick: Lean Mets
Season: 39-38 (+0.75)
Mets vs. Yankees Game 3
By: Willie Bee
Offense has been the story the past two nights in New York, and more of it has been produced by the Mets after winning their sixth consecutive game over the Yankees with Tuesday's 12-7 decision.
The Subway Series now shifts to Citi Field for two days, and we've got a very interesting clash of rookie hurlers for our Hump Day affair. Charged with halting the Yankees' losing skid is Masahiro Tanaka; the Mets counter with Rafael Montero who is making his MLB debut with ESPN's prime-time cameras focused on his first pitch at 7:10 PM (ET).
The baseball odds are showing respect for Tanaka with the Yanks tagged -170 chalk for the matchup, the scoreboard hurdle settling at 6.5 runs after beginning on 7.
Dubyas Continue To
Pile Up For Tanaka
The 4-game skid the Yankees are currently mired in is frustrating manager Joe Girardi, but the good news is he has his best arm to stop the bleeding on the hill tonight.
Even before injuries subtracted the likes of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda from the Yankees rotation, Tanaka had established himself as the ace of the staff. Seven starts into his MLB career, the righthander is 5-0 -- New York 6-1, +4.1 units -- and has amassed 58 strikeouts in his first 49 innings. Tanaka has limited damage from the seven long balls he has allowed by only walking seven of the 194 batters faced.
The 25-year-old has also been remarkably consistent whether he's pitching at Yankee Stadium or on the road. Tanaka owns wins in all three starts away from the Bronx, all while recording a fantastic 22:1 strikeout-to-walk ration on those 20.2 innings.
Mets Shuffle Pitching
Staff, Promote Montero
To be fair, injuries last year to their two best pitchers -- Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell -- set things in motion for the current state of the Mets' staff. But I still can't help but place some of the blame on Terry Collins and his history of mismanaging relievers. For now they are going to try Jenrry Mejia in the bullpen after several rough starts, and that necessitated promoting Montero.
The young Dominican has been advancing through New York's minor league system since being signed in 2011, his last 24 starts on the farm at the club's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. Compared at times to Pedro Martinez for his lean frame and fastball that reaches the mid-90s, Montero also has a very good slider with a change-up that is a work in progress.
We may see MLB switch out the umpire crew for this one since it technically begins a new series. If the same bunch that's been working games in the Bronx does slide over to Queens, Mike DiMuro (3-3-1 O/U/P) is next in line to call balls and strikes.
Low-scoring games have been the norm at Citi Field in this rivalry, but my gut says we'll see the bats stay alive at least one more game to produce enough to get past this short total. Let's play the high side for our free MLB pick on Wednesday.
My pick: Yankees-Mets Over 6.5
Season: 38-37 (+0.4)
Mets vs. Yankees Game 2
By: Willie Bee
An early 3-run lead didn't hold up for the Yankees in their opener against the Mets on Monday. Neither did a late 3-run lead as the crew from Queens scored a 9-7 triumph in a wild one in the Bronx.
The result was a fifth straight win in the Subway Series for the Mets, and they look to make it six in a row Tuesday with another 7:05 PM (ET) start time at Yankee Stadium. The pinstriped posse is favored in the -125 to -130 range on the MLB odds as Vidal Nuno takes another turn in the Yankee rotation. Zack Wheeler takes the mound for the Mets with an 8.5 run total that leans to the high side.
Four home runs brought the Mets back twice in Monday's contest, the last clout off the bat of Chris Young in the eighth to serve as the game winner. Adding injury to insult was Yankees DH Carlos Beltran exiting the game with an elbow injury that he suffered in the batting cage between at-bats, adding to the club's long injury list.
Wheeler Set To Face
Yanks For 1st Time
Wheeler has pitched better than his 1-3 record would indicate. Now in his first full big league season, the lanky righthander has seen his K rate increase from a year ago, his walk rate is the same and he's allowing fewer home runs. The only statistical slide is the hits column where he's giving up a little more than one safety a game over his 2013 rate.
He's coming off a pretty good performance in Miami last Wednesday, allowing just two hits in six scoreless frames though he did walk a a season-high five batter. Tuesday will be his cherry against the Yankees.
Nuno saw the Mets once last season, and the finesse lefty pitched well enough to win that game (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) only to receive no offensive support in a 3-1 Mets victory. The California native picked up his first dubya of 2014 last Wednesday against the Angels, working into the seventh with just one run charged to his linescore in the 9-2 Yankees triumph. Nuno has been far better on the road so far (0.73 ERA, 12.1 IP) than at home (10.22 ERA, 12.1 IP), and all four home runs he has served up came off the mound at Yankee Stadium.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Veteran field arbiter Jerry Layne will call balls and strikes tonight; he began 2014 with four straight 'over' winners before his last plate assignment fell short of the total, and home favorites are 4-1 with Layne behind the plate this season.
There is a 30% chance of rain in the NYC area today, but the showers should be light and not lead to Game 2 being suspended. The thermometer will be in the low-60s at first pitch with an 8-12 mph east breeze (in from center).
The prevailing trend for these matchups in the Bronx has been the high side of the total, and I'll be riding that drift with a free MLB pick on the 'over'.
My pick: Mets-Yankees Over 8.5 (-115)
Season: 36-37 (-1.5)
Mets vs. Yankees Game 1
By: Willie Bee
One squad is two games over .500 and sitting second in its division. The other is two games below .500 and tied for the cellar in its division. Not that it really matters where the New York Mets and New York Yankees are in the standings when they meet for Big Apple bragging rights.
Welcome to the annual interleague battles between the Yankees and Mets. New York's baseballers will spend the next four days going after each other, and it all begins Monday night (7:05 PM ET) in the Bronx where a couple of veteran arms are set to duel as Bartolo Colon takes the ball from Terry Collins for the Mets while Joe Girardi entrusts Hiroki Kuroda to get the job done for the Yankees.
MLB odds opened with the pinstripes at -150 on the moneyline, and that has jumped up a few pennies at many baseball betting outlets. Scoreboard watchers are looking at 8.5 for the total, shaded to the 'under.'
The Mets swept all four games last season, but it's the Yankees who own the 54-40 advantage in the Subway Series overall, including a 29-18 mark in games played in the Bronx. Three of the four a year ago stayed 'under' with the only 'over' occurring at Yankee Stadium. Five of the last seven played at Yankee Stadium have gone past the total.
Five Game Skid Ends
Sunday For Mets
They're still bringing up the rear of the NL East, but at least the Mets (17-19, 0.0 units, 15-15-16 O/U/P) have company in the division basement now after stopping a 5-game losing streak on Sunday with a 5-4 win vs. the Phillies in extra innings. Offense has been an issue for Collins' crew, his lineup last in the NL in the long ball column and next to last with a .643 OPS.
Colon was inked to a 2-year, $20 million deal in the offseason with the idea being he would provide veteran stability for a young Mets rotation. He's really only had two bad outings among his seven assignments, but they were ugly appearances and his new club has only managed to win twice while he checks into Monday's start with a 5.36 ERA.
The veteran Dominican had some success against the Yankees very early in his career, holding them to one run over 24 innings in his first three starts. But things have gone south since then. Colon has won just three times in his last 12 starts vs. New York with a 7.71 ERA, and is 4-6 in 12 starts at new Yankee Stadium -- including his time with the Yankees in 2011 -- where he owns a 4.71 ERA.
Yanks Come Home From
.500 Road Trip
The Yankees (19-17, +0.3 units, 18-18 O/U) are returning home from a road trip that started favorably by winning three of the first four before dropping a pair of 1-run decisions in Milwaukee to end the journey. Girardi's starting rotation has been hit hard with injuries, CC Sabathia (knee) the latest hurler to hit the DL alongside Michael Pineda (ribs) and Ivan Nova (elbow surgery).
Like Colon, Kuroda only has two wins to show for his efforts so far in 2014, with the Yanks 3-4 in his seven assignments. The 39-year-old made his last appearance this past Wednesday in the series finale vs. the Angels, taking a no-decision with a fine performance (7.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 K) in a game New York eventually won, 4-3.
While pitching for the Dodgers, the Mets gave Kuroda plenty of trouble as LA went 2-5 in his seven outings vs. them and the righthander fashioning an unsightly 8.23 ERA. Since joining the Yankees, the Metropolitans have yet to score a run off Kuroda in two starts, managing to scrape together only five hits in the combined 14 innings.
There is a 20%-40% chance of rain in the New York City area the next few days, but the games shouldn't be in peril of being canceled. More important Monday night is the 10-12 mph SW breeze (out to left). I'm going to take a flyer on the underdog Mets with my free pick in Game 1.
My Pick: Mets +140
Season: 34-37 (-3.9)